Ever since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to know what hot, decaying watermelon and rancid smoked duck breast smelled like after it had been in the car for a couple of days. And now I know.
It isn’t good.
I’m in the final term of Prep here for my little girl who is now 6. Six! And what a learning experience it has been. I remember shopping for her new lunchbox and drink bottle along with socks, hair elastics, pencil cases and all the other exciting back-to-school items that were fresh and ready to use.
Her lunchbox was pink, glittery and has a picture of a unicorn on it (as does everything for little girls right now). It was super cute, clean and inoffensive.
Fast forward a few terms and it’s now ready to be incinerated.
Today I was lucky enough to find her lunchbox behind the drivers seat of my car. She had obviously been digging around in there for a snack on the way home a few days before and just tossed it on the ground. Now, after a 26 degree day I got the pleasure of opening the Pandora’s box of bacteria to find the remnants of her fetid feast.
We had wilted watermelon, decaying duck (posh, but an innocent mistake at the butchers, I had thought it was chicken), mangled muffin and a molten mandarin. It smelled putrid.
Now I am forced with an impossible decision. Add to landfill and race back to Kmart for a newer model of lunchbox, or Dettol the fuck out of that padded cell and try and make it last until the end of term?
Have a baby! They said.
It will be fun! They said.
They don’t tell you about the endless mystery smells and the endless less mysterious ones. The ones that come with life on the battlefield. Poo, spew, off milk patches and wee. Soggy mops and wet clothes and rotting bits of food.
Fuck You, dirty lunch boxes. Fuck your decaying duck and your liquid goop and your unidentifiable bits of mould that create their own little cities inside your children’s lunch boxes. If our tiny little school was big enough for a canteen, she would be eating that every day.
Oh, but she wouldn’t.
Because there is the constant battle of the right and balanced lunch, the keeping up with the bento boxes and the Joneses and the latest trends in nutrition.
Maybe day old duck isn’t so bad after all? It could have been vegemite.